The shield and ice of Captain America: The First Avenger

Posted by CB Droege

The newest Marvel film certainly does not disappoint.

Captain America: The First Avenger's overture is a bit perplexing at first. For a moment, I worried I was in the wrong theater. I was not expecting that the film would be fully framed by a pair of scenes from the present day.

I mean: we all already knew Cap was going to have to be frozen after World War II, and be discovered by S.H.I.E.L.D. in the present, because telling that origin was sort of the whole point of the film. I guess I just wasn’t expecting it to be quite so blatant about it right from the first scene.

One of the things I was most worried about for this film was the particular special effect of making Steve Rogers a scrawny guy.

They didn’t want to just put him in some ill-fitting clothing, and use some bad camera angles to make the Pre-Captain Rogers look small, they wanted him to actually be small, and the only way to do that was to use a different actor.

They used a fairly new technology however, in which they placed Chris Evans’ face on the body of a much smaller actor, essentially a stunt-double.

The effect looked great in the trailers, but that was only at mere seconds at a time. I wasn’t sure how it would look when seeing the character function for long minutes at a time.

My fears were entirely unfounded, however. It was impossible to see any seams of the effect, even when looking closely for them. I suppose this is a tech that they now have down well, and I can only imagine the future potential for role which can be effectively played by one person’s body with another person’s face.

I was surprised to see just how much of the film was spent on Steve Rogers pre-captain days. I was expecting to get a couple of scenes showing Rogers’ weakness, and then jump right into the Nazi-fighting action, but Rogers was fully developed as a character before the transformation was even offered to him, so we really got a good sense of the whole weak-man-made-strong thing, which is so important to the story.

The visual design of the film is great. Most of the color in the film is browns and yellows, and where there is any brightness, it’s always red and blue. This gives it a historic feel, like it’s an old photograph, browning with age, but also showcases the patriotism of the character, despite the character’s insistence in the film that he is doing all of this, not for his country, but because he doesn’t like "bullies."

I especially enjoyed the style of the technology, the visual combination of comicbook futurism and World’s Fair googie is appealing and gives it all just the right feel. We’re definetly in the 1940’s, but it’s an alternate 1940’s, where a man names Stark develops weapons and technology beyond anything we’ve even seen today, and where both sides of the war are tapping into forces which can only be described as supernatural.

I hate to repeat myself, but there is nothing for it: This latest Marvel film is outstanding. One more incredible brick in the pyramid of the Marvel Avengers’ film universe. If you got anything out of the Iron Man films or Thor, you’ll want to also check out Captain America: The First Avenger.

Captain America: The First Avenger is playing in theaters now.